Tourists have been complaining about the BVI’s capacity to process travellers at the West End Ferry dock, and Premier Andrew Fahie has described those bottleneck concerns as ‘a good problem’.
Tourists and boat operators were recently held up at the port of entry and have since made calls for Customs and Immigration officers as well as health officials to extend their hours to accommodate the heavy influx of passengers.
Asked at a recent press conference how his administration was responding to the challenge, Premier Fahie said the government is currently discussing how to deal with the matter overall.
“It’s a good problem to have compared to where we were,” Premier Fahie said. “It’s not a good thing to have the problem, don’t misunderstand me.”
“We are putting things in place to deal with that matter at the West End ferry and other areas because when we are finished with the plan that is on foot — that is now starting to come to fruition — you will see that we have many ports of entry for international travellers,” the Premier stated.
He told reporters that his government is also looking into getting ferry boats that will be coming to and from the West End port. The Premier explained that this was a means of jumpstarting West End-based small businesses such as food vendors and taxi operators.
The Premier said his government stuck to its plan, despite claims from detractors that they gave away the BVI’s marine and tourism industries to its next-door neighbours in the US Virgin Islands.
“We needed to have these mitigation procedures and protocols in place to help our people to be able to make it through COVID-19 and we saw that they were very onerous on private sector especially — and even on government — because we didn’t have any revenues basically coming in to any large extent like we’re accustomed to. So we went through some very serious financial times,” Premier Fahie added.
Despite the challenges, Fahie said the BVI was one of the few Overseas Territories to report that it was not in deficit spending – a feat he described as admirable.
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